While Maddie is getting a shower, the boys take her things, along with Patti’s, to another room. They make an improvised bed for Maddie with bean bag chairs and a sheet. The next day, they have their first lesson in making adobe plaster for the walls of the playhouse.
Jose, with the help of his son and Luis, demonstrated the correct way to make the adobe. They each took up a square of plywood with a short, squat dowel nailed on it. Jose loaded these with adobe plaster and handed them each a flat, rectangular, metal trowel.
“Now we go to the torreón.” They followed him to the building.
With detailed explanation, Jose demonstrated how to apply the plaster to the wall. Their first attempts were laughable, but they got better, especially Maddie and Daniel. Patti and Clayton were good at mixing the adobe to the right consistency, which left the other boys to tote buckets while the rest applied the plaster.
They stopped at noon for a wonderful lunch that was prepared by Leslie, with the help of Polly and Caroline. It didn’t surprise Maddie to find out that he was a retired chef. The sandwiches he’d prepared were fit for a king. He was so delighted with all their compliments, he smiled and blushed.
“Dinner will be even better,” he promised.
Claire hadn’t joined them for lunch and none of the other girls even stopped to ask where she was. Even Jane seemed perfectly content, if not happy, that she wasn’t around.
The day went quickly and they had a sense of accomplishment of a job well done. Working in the heat was exhausting and most of them had gotten too much sun. The five minute showers didn’t seem like enough to get the mud off, so Jose had a suggestion.
“Everyone line up and we’ll do this the old fashioned way,” he said with a grin.
Luis and Gabe seemed to know what was coming. Maddie noticed they didn’t join them. She was just about to ask why when she got a face full of water. Spitting and screeching, she danced around as the water hit her.
“That’s so cold!” she wailed.
Patti stood next to her, stoically still, teeth chattering as the water dripped off her sodden shirt and red hair. The boys tugged off their shirts, dancing around in the water as Jose sprayed them. The other girls seemed so shocked by the experience, they said nothing. After a moment, Patti and Maddie joined the boys as they cavorted in the spray.
“Come on in,” Maddie called to Gabe and Luis.
“No thanks, I’m gonna go home and have a nice, hot shower,” he said with a grin. “And I’m gonna picture this moment,” he murmured to Luis.
His friend tapped knuckles, nodding his enthusiastic agreement. His eyes were on Patti as she danced in the water. There weren’t a lot of redheads around their tiny town. He liked seeing another like himself.
“Oh, Roja,” he murmured. “You are so beautiful.” He smacked his lips and stared.
© 2015 Dellani Oakes